Thursday, April 14, 2011

Inventions and tech transfer in universities

...start-ups are used to commercialize new technologies that are radical, tacit, early stage, general-purpose, provide significant value to customers, involve major technical advances and have strong intellectual property protection. Licensing to established firms is used to commercialize new technologies that are incremental, codified, late stage, specific-purpose, provide moderate customer value, involve minor technical advance and have weaker intellectual property protection.

Fred Pries, Paul Guild, Commercializing inventions resulting from university research: Analyzing the impact of technology characteristics on subsequent business models, Technovation, Volume 31, Issue 4, Managing Technology, April 2011, Pages 151-160, ISSN 0166-4972, DOI: 10.1016/j.technovation.2010.05.002.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8B-50F45TB-1/2/25ef253dd866cbdc56c355446cf1a7fc)

Risk tolerance seems to be the deciding factor in technology transfer: high risk (mitigated by better IP protection) for startups, low risk (defined by better distribution capabilities) for large companies.

tags: innovation, patent, strategy, technology, business, model, distribution, source, tool, education

1 comment:

jacs said...

This point was pretty much adressed by Teece (1986) although with focus on established or large firms less on division of labour (technology markets) between large and start-ups. But as implied in your post, the ip-regime vs complementary asset positions trade off is often the same in the case of tech licensing and/or the chance/risk of profiting from tech start-up.

Business model innovation is more tricky. A BM is hard to patent, and is rarely VRIN. BMI no less drives growth in many cases, at least for some time. E.g. Dell Inc. Perhaps because BM inertia is often strong with incumbent competitors (see Chesbrough, 2010; 2011).

I'm working with the newspaper industry (weak ip regime + strong compl. asset holders online and mobile, google, apple etc.)

Moreover, the industry has a weak or absent innovation culture or process + a strong print BM and dominant logic and org. culture).

And Jeff Jarvis' buzz question: "What would Google do?" may not be very helpful, because Google's BM is 95 pct advertising if not more derived from platform leader dynamics (i.e. network effects) which forms a key complementary asset for all publishers. So maybe it's time to ask, "how can google help" and how can we open our innovation to leverage the new ecosystem which is displacing our disolving industry structure of yesteryear.

Thoughts on newspaper BM innovation are most welcome.

- Jacob